American Samoa calls for illegal immigrants to come forward
American Samoa's Attorney General urges illegal immigrants to take advantage of amnesty offer.
American Samoa's acting Attorney General is urging illegal immigrants to stop living in fear and take advantage of the Government's amnesty programme.
Under the scheme, the administration will be seeking Fono approval to expand the quota limits for foreign nationals.
Only those who entered American Samoa before June 30th, 2013 are eligible.
Talauega Eleasalo Ale told Amelia Langford it is a chance for undocumented residents to become legal citizens and fully participate in the community.
TALAUEGA ELEASALO ALE: It is an opportunity that is provided to these folks, some of them who have been living here for a very long time, having children and so forth, to be counted, to be properly registered and to fully join as productive and active participants of our community.
AMELIA LANGFORD: So at this point in time, would you say there is quite a big problem with illegal immigrants living in the territory?
TEA: Yes, like most places I guess around the world, the issue of illegal immigrants is a problem. What is unique for our island community is we are a very small island with limited resources and with a growing illegal population creates all types of issues and drains on the limited resources, land, social and financial resources, our schools, our hospital systems. So the goal of amnesty is to provide people the opportunity to come forward and be registered and it also provides the Government the opportunity to know exactly how many people are out there, how many services should be provided, to cater for the folks who are living in the community.
AL: I would suppose for some illegal immigrants they would be quite scared though that there would be a risk that they would be deported?
TEA: I would suspect that some of the undocumented residents of American Samoa would be scared about the potential risk of doing this. Again, the Government's interest in this is not punitive but an attempt to guide people who are worthy and eligible through a process where at the end of the day they become legal residents of the territory. We are aware of many undocumented residents of the territory who live in fear about not knowing what their status is.
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